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Great White Egret

Discussion in 'Wildlife Chat' started by MerlinsMum, Aug 23, 2013.


  1. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    I felt very lucky to see the first breeding pair of these in the UK, as I live in Somerset.

    Just had a driving lesson today and as we paseed through Ilchester, was astonished to see one on a branch over the River Yeo. It was still there an hour later so I slowed down to a crawl and got a really good look.

    Wish I'd asked the instructor if I could stop and get a photo! But it was a good clear sighting, just feet away from the road.


    Not the one I saw, but this is what they look like -

    [​IMG]
     
    #1 MerlinsMum, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  2. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    Very exciting. Hope they thrive here.
     
  3. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    How exciting :thumbup:
     
  4. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    They do seem to be. The original pair had two broods last year, and will have bred again this year; not sure if the first chicks will have been mature enough to breed this year. There have been counts of 9 of them at Shapwick Heath recently.

    They are sure to dissipate eventually, and the original two spent a long time touring the UK before settling to breed in Somerset. There were reports that the first female, who is ringed, went up as far as Lincolnshire. And of course they may be joined by more migrants from France.

    So if you see a big white bird that isn't a swan, near water, clearly bigger than a Little Egret, maybe even perching in a tree, it'll be a GWE.
     
  5. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    Going to see if I can find one tomorrow....
     
  6. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    I'm sure you'll see at least one.

    I took the dogs to the dog-friendly part of Ham Wall yesterday (along the old railway line) and while I didn't see any on the pools, I saw one flying around a distance away, and then another flying further on. Some birdwatchers I passed said they'd seen two in the pools along that section near the Shapwick end.

    If it's big, and white, and clearly not a swan, then it's a GWE. It could be a seagull of course, but they fly differently.

    Take some binoculars if you have any (forgot my pocket ones yesterday).

    Tip: if you are in a popular birdwatching spot, don't be afraid to ask anyone birdy-looking if they've seen anything interesting. They're always happy to tell you where and what, if they have.

    Hope you enjoy your trip :)
     
  7. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    Thanks - just leaving! Will post when I get back and let you know...
     
  8. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    Wow! What a day - we saw two! One standing around at the lookout spot on Ham Wall and one flying on Shapwick.

    And then a marsh harrier flew past, and then an osprey trying to fish, and failing (we think it was a youngster), and then on Shapwick a bigger Osprey on a post with a huge fish.

    You are right - too far away for photos, which is a shame as the standing one was in a line of four, with the other three being herons, all of which were smaller than it, and a swan in front. It would have made a great pic for "how to tell a GWE from everything else". Two people let us use their scopes to view things, and one sort of adopted us as we kept bumping in to him, so he would make sure we had seen anything he thought was interesting (waders for the most part). We did have bins though, and did see some stuff all by ourselves. Also saw a ton of dragonfly things but have to look at the photos to see what they were I think.

    Fabulous day - very happy :):):)
     
  9. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    My turn to be envious! :)
    I had no idea there were Ospreys there at the moment, though it's a popular stopping-off point for them. Now I can drive, I'll be going back there again this week hoping to spot one!

    I've seen Ospreys in Florida but not in this country. I once stayed at a friend's apartment in Orlando for a week, and there was a tall single pine tree about 100 yards away with a nest containing young. I spent HOURS sitting out front with binoculars in one hand and a beer in the other, watching the parent birds bringing fish to the nestlings. Totally wonderful.

    Yes the place is full of dragonflies at the moment, I love watching them. And the birding folk are always friendly. I used to live near Farlington Marshes in Hampshire and always stopped to ask if they'd seen anything. Was the friendly chap on a bike? I might know who he is :)

    I bet you are!!! Did you have to travel far? Will you be going again?
     
  10. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    No - he was on foot carrying a scope and tripod, and with a lady who wasn't quite so keen I think. He goes a lot though and told us where to watch for bitterns in the early summer (one flying past every ten minutes he reckoned when they are feeding young!)

    About an hour's drive and YES, it is a wonderful place.
     
  11. MerlinsMum

    MerlinsMum PetForums VIP

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    That's a way to travel, I feel extra privileged then as it's about 12 mins drive from me! But haven't been able to get there very often as I didn't drive until last Thursday.... :D

    You'll have the Starling murmurations there in the winter, and yes next Spring the bitterns... don't worry, I'll be going to see the lot.
     
  12. skylark3

    skylark3 PetForums Newbie

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    Lucky you to live so near to them - but don't ask your driving examiner to stop, or even mention you see one!
     
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